Tattoo Inks Expand your knowledge

The tattoo has evolved from “macho-man” ink, to some of the most beautiful art you will ever see. I sometimes joke as to why people would pay to go to art museums when they can walk around anywhere and see people wearing art. A tattoo can be a center-piece for a great conversation.

I have met some very amazing people and built friendships after simply complimenting them on their artwork. When meeting some tattoo artists, you will find that the majority of them became tattoo artists through another form of art such as painting, drawing, graphic design, and even beautiful graffiti art.

When traveling through this industry,  It is a brother and sisterhood like no other with a lifetime of bonds to each other.  If ever given the chance, I recommend you go to a tattoo convention; you will not be disappointed, as there is so much to see and learn. In this post I would like to share a little history and about inks. So Let’s begin.

A little History About Tattoosman- table

The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word “Tatu” which means “to mark something”. The oldest recorded tattoo found by scientists was 61 tattoos found on a Tyrolean Iceman Otzi’s body who was believed to have died around 3250 BC. Even though it’s not recorded, scientists believe tattoos may even date further back then that.

In ancient Egypt and India tattoos were used as healing methods and as marking status in society. Up until the late 1960s, they were considered to be uncivilized and were mainly worn by sailors, bikers, working class men, and prisoners. At the turn of the 20th century, tattoos became widely accepted in subculture, marking a new era to come.

You can say that today they have become part of pop culture. A study done by the Pew Research Center concluded that 36 percent of Americans between the ages man-suitof 18 to 25, have at least 1 tattoo. In 2011 Mattel even came out with a Barbie that has a tattoo. Today, even people in the corporate world are inked. I would guess that 1 out of every 5 corporate workers have ink under their 3 piece suit or dress.

The world record holder for ink is a man by the name of Lucky Rich who spent over 1000 hours to have his body 100 percent inked. The record holder in the womens department is Charlotte Guttenburg who has 98.75 percent of her body covered.

Every culture has a reason for being inked that you could spend hours researching about. Ink today is of the norm and is not shunned upon, like in years past, and is coveted by much of society.

What Inks are Made of

Tattoo inks are solutions that consist of a carrier and a colorant. The carrier is the solution that will carry the colorant to the location of application. It may contain glycerin, water, Isopropyl alcohol, and/or witch hazel.

Colorants will typically be pigments. Some people may ask why dyes aren’t used. The reason is that dyes would need a chemical reaction with the skin to create a color and to be able to stay in place, whereas a pigment does not. Pigment is held into place by intermolecular or physical forces.

Pigments are derived from mineral and geological sources to produce colors and hues. Carbon (carbon black) and iron oxides are used to produce black ink. Cinnabar (a mercury sulfide) compound is used to make red hues. Cadmium compounds such as cadmium red and cadmium yellow are used to make shades of red, yellow and orange.

Inks include additives such as surfactants, binding agents, fillers and preservatives. Many of these agents are employed together to keep them in uniform suspension to avoid microorganism growth after opening. 20 years ago ink manufactures stopped using mineral based compounds and started using organic pigments.

It is a common misconception that tattoo ink fades from prolonged exposure to the sun. In actuality, tattoos may fade due to the fact that your immune system starts to succeed in breaking up the pigmentation, as if it is a virus.

Let’s not forget that a tattoo creates wounds and introduces a foreign substance in your body and the body naturally wants to fight it off. Ok, let’s move on.

Lining Inks and Shading

Lining inks: used for outlining the tattoo before the coloring and shading is done. Believe it or not, lining ink is usually done with drawing ink. Artists have been using drawing inks for years to do lining work, as they find it is easier to work with.

A problem with using tattoo lining inks is that the alcohol content tends to ruin the purple stencil on the skin. It is also thicker and makes it harder to get the proper line work done rapidly.

Shading: Artists have different opinions of what shading is. Some will argue shading and coloring are the same, while others argue it is not. In my opinion, they are different. Shading takes time and practice. It uses a circular motion creating nice gradients.

Some Artists will use a flicking motion while they gradually lift up to go from a dark to light affect, while some will scrub across the skin and use the pressure from their hand to get dark to light. You can really tell one’s artistic abilities by their shading work.


Coloring in my opinion is pretty self-explanatory. It is the process of adding color in the artwork. Something to watch out for are the problems that can occur if the coloring is not done correctly. Plowing in the color, going over an girl bikiniarea too many times, or staying in an area too long can cause more trauma to the skin then needed.

This can cause excessive scabbing which will pull the ink out. Something to keep in mind is that colors look different on different skin tones. Also, skin on an older person can take inks differently. A good artist will explain all of this to a client if he/she feels the color won’t be what is expected.


Inks Have Come a Long Way

Manufactures have come out with some of the most brilliant colors and artists are creating some beautiful art with them. We’ve come a long way in the world of tattooing. We have gone from dull and boring to glow in the dark, ultra violet, 3D art, and not to mention sound bars.

This is where you can pick a song or something voiced, and the sound bar is tattooed and can be played via an app as you run your phone along it. This is one I personally wouldn’t recommended, but that’s for another time.

Rock your success, David




25 Replies to “Tattoo Inks Expand your knowledge”

  1. What an interesting article. I had no idea where tattoos came from. My best friend is looking to get one and I think this will be a really good read for her. I have read a few of your posts now and they are all so detailed. I will be saving your site to my favourites

    1. Hello David Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Thank you so much for passing my article along And I’m really happy you enjoy reading them. Thank you for saving my site to your favorites and look forward to hearing more thoughts from you in the future.
      Best Wishes,

  2. It is very interesting to see how far tattoos have come and the changes they have made. Inever knew they had 3d art tattoos, that sure sounds interesting. Thank you for the post! Enjoyed the pictures as well.

    1. Hello Paul. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Tattoos have come a long way with all kinds of styles and I’m glad you enjoyed my article and pictures. Again thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  3. I love this article, I was interested in tattoos, I’m not planning on getting one, but they have always fascinated me and this post helped me learn so much about them.

    1. Hello Ashley. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Yes there’s a lot of people who are really interested in tattoos but really don’t have the desire to get one. I’m really happy this article helped you learn more about the ink world. Again thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  4. Thank you so much for this. I am about to get my first tattoo, and although I know my artist, I now feel so much better informed. I’m very happy that I can continue tanning.

    I’m just hoping the healing is quick.

    1. Hello Sam. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I’m happy you feel more Informed and would love to see your ink when it’s finished. Just remember to follow you artists instructions on taking care of it during the healing process. Again thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  5. Hello Shalisha. I’m really happy you liked my website. To answer your question yes artist today take many precautions to prevent Hiv and other Infections examples they use new needles for each client wear medical gloves wrap their machines and much more. Hope this helped ease your mind.
    Best wishes.

  6. Wow. Your site is cool and informative. I always had concerns about getting tattoos, especially with the prevalence of HIV. What provisions do tattoo parlors take to ensure HIV is not transmitted?

    Personally, I wouldn’t get a tattoo because I’m afraid of the pain involved. But your site is great.

  7. Hi David
    What a great website
    I have around 8 tattoos one of which is around 2o years old and still looking cool
    Google – Coen Mitchell – he is a fantastic young tattooist making a name for himself around the world and is a friend of mine
    Taytoos rock

  8. Hello Aria Len. I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. yes skin tone will play a role so make sure you talk with the artist. I do have a post coming next about getting your first tattoo which I think you will really like. Again Thank you so much.
    Best wishes

  9. It’s funny that I ran across your blog! I’m actually looking to get my first tattoo this fall and I’ve learned SO much from your post.

    However, my concern with getting a tattoo is that red won’t show up on my skin tone or will fade quickly.

  10. Hello Furkan. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and happy you got a lot of information. To answer your question no they are not hypoallergenic no manufacture has come out with one yet. If your thinking of getting one I would recommend you speak with your Dr. Again thank you so much.
    Wishing you all the best.

  11. After reading this I have so much information about the tattoos however I have a question. I have a sensitive skin and are tattoo inks hypoallergenic?

  12. Hello Paul thank you for reading my post I’m happy you enjoyed it and learned from it. Yes tattoos have a very long history and each origin seems to have their own meanings behind them. Again thank you so much.

  13. I just learned quite a lot about tattoos from reading the post. I never realized that they dated back that far in history. It was also interesting to see where the origin of the word came from. Thank you for a very informative post.

  14. Hello Justin. Your more then welcome glad you liked it. To answer your question yes there are some tribes that do just that as matter a fact there’s a woman you have to travel for a week on foot to get to her, people travel all over to have her tattoo them she does amazing work.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Man that is awesome and probably painfull to have done with wood and a spike. Im looking forward to more of these facts and history of tattoos along with all the other information you are giving us on here.
      Thank you man much appreciated.

  15. Loved the ink history i learned quite a bit Thank you. You stated a guy has 100% of his body tattooed that is crazy. At least his record wont be broken it can be matched but not broken. I had heard some tribes use a piece of wood and a nail like spike to beat tattoos and markings on the tribes people is this true or is my friend pulling my leg?

  16. Wow, David, I am impressed. I learned a lot from reading your post. I didn’t know where the name tattoo came from. This is a super good article. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Thank you so much Tony. It excites me when someone comments that they were able to learn from my posts. Yes you are correct about the Victorian woman in the united kingdom.
    Keep rockin

  18. Wow I learnt so much – you obviously know your stuff. I also read that victorian days in the United Kingdom ladies were often tattooed, but hardly anyone saw as they were always covered up 😉

    I’ll certainly be going through more of your info here.

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